How do public health nurses work and support mothering refugee women in the community?




Kassam, Shahin

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My doctoral studies contribute toward situating the health of mothering women who have been forcibly displaced within the nursing discipline. Specifically, public health nursing processes used while working with and supporting mothering women who have been forcibly displaced were explored. I use the terms mothering women who have been forcibly displaced to convey and articulate the locations shaping this specific population of women. In doing so, I put emphasis on the women who have been impacted by forcible displacement and pushed into a marginalized state. This approach to terminology also conveys the multiple complexities experienced by these women which public health nurses have the opportunity to engage with. The following question guided this dissertation: How do public health nurses work with women who are mothering and managing the effects of their refugee status? This question was approached using two distinct methodologies. The first was a Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) qualitative systematic review in which I identified, critically appraised and synthesized current knowledge on nurses’ experiences of providing care to mothering women who have been forcibly displaced. Of note, the JBI review question was broadened to include nurses caring for women experiencing any form of precarious migrant status. This was due to the limited number of articles addressing the concept of nurses caring specifically for maternal refugee women. The second approach was a constructivist grounded theory (CGT) using intersectionality as an analytical tool. In this study I described the processes public health nurses used to establish trusting relationships with mothering refugee women. Findings within the JBI review and CGT study included nurses identifying inequities women faced as stemming from their precarious migrant status and thereby needing to flex care provision to meet women’s needs. The findings also demonstrated the need to examine uptake of trauma-informed principles within care with focus on how organizations are structurally supporting nursing in their practice. I conclude this dissertation with the Afterword Chapter which is a summary and synthesis of significant findings and nursing implications.



public health nursing, refugee, forcible displacement, women, immigrant, intersectionality, constructivist grounded theory, Joanna Briggs Institute, systematic review